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MemphisShooting 4thLd-Writethru UPDATE

Police find 6 dead inside Memphis home; 3 children survive attack

Eds: ADDS detail about neighborhood crime. Briefing set for 11:30 a.m. EDT. AP Video.

AP Photo TNMEM101

By WOODY BAIRD

Associated Press Writer

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Police were trying Tuesday to piece together the violent events inside a brick home where six people were found dead in an apparent mass shooting. Three children who survived the attack were hospitalized.

The home in the working-class neighborhood about six miles from downtown Memphis was still cordoned off with police tape more than 12 hours after officers first burst in Monday night and found the bodies of four adults and two children. Most victims had been shot, authorities said, and at least one child had been stabbed.

Police released few details, saying only that the case was being investigated as a homicide. They did not say whether the killer was among the victims or still at large.

The shootings stunned community members, many of whom gathered at the nearby First Baptist Church for a prayer service Tuesday morning. Pastor Keith Norman said the grandfather of one of the victims was a member of the congregation.

Members hoped the prayer service would help residents find peace.

"This is a breach in our community, and we as a church are the repairers of that breach," church member Cheri Wells said. "I feel a sense of vulnerability, I feel pain and hurt. ... Our peace has been snatched from us."

Authorities did not release names of the victims, but the Shelby County medical examiner was performing autopsies on the victims Tuesday morning.

Children ages 7 and 4 and a 10-month-old baby were taken to Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, Memphis Fire Department spokeswoman Melanie Young told The Associated Press . She did have details about the other victims, but police told the newspaper all the children were under the age of 12.

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The Commercial Appeal reported that one of the children had been upgraded to stable condition Monday night and another upgraded to critical while the third remained in extremely critical condition. Hospital spokeswoman Jennilyn Utkov told The Associated Press the family has requested that no information be released on the children’s conditions.

Authorities were first called to the house by a relative who knocked on the door around 6 p.m. Monday but did not get an answer.

Wayne Bolden, who lives across the street from the scene of the shooting, said that a man who lived in the house periodically fired shots in the yard.

"He’d shoot on the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve," Bolden said. "He’d have company over and I’d hear the shots."

He said the family there kept to themselves, but he would see four or five children from the house riding bicycles occasionally.

While neighbors described the shootings as unusual, the Binghamton neighborhood does experience gang- and drug-related violence. Early Tuesday morning, even as police investigated the six deaths, two men were critically injured in a robbery and shooting in another part of the neighborhood.

Rob Robinson, who owns the brick, single-family home where the shootings occurred, told The Commercial Appeal the house was rented, and that a man, his girlfriend, a baby, and at least one other child lived there.

"They were very nice, very polite to me," Robinson said, adding that the man paid $550 in cash every month for rent. "It’s kind of surprising, actually. I’ve never had any trouble with them, no damage to the property. They paid their rent and even helped with repairs and stuff."

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Robinson said the man living at the home had problems with a former girlfriend. "When I was over there, there were a lot of heated conversations over the phone," he said.

Neighbors said there had been a disturbance over the weekend, and a woman was outside the home, blowing her car horn.

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